Physician Assistants (PAs) are health-care professionals who practice as part of a team with a physician. PAs exercise autonomy in decision-making and provide a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic services with physician supervision. The role of the PA includes provision of primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practices located in rural, urban or suburban areas.
The Shenandoah University Physician Assistant (SUPA) Program is a graduate entry-level professional course of study enabling individuals who hold baccalaureate degrees to become PAs. The program is designed to prepare graduates for practice with emphasis on service to medically underserved populations and the team approach to the delivery of health care. The program integrates graduate-level critical thinking and analysis, problem solving, scientific inquiry, self-directed learning and the effective use of modern technology for professional practice that includes elements of research, leadership, education and continued enhancement of the PA profession.
Looking for more information on the PA profession and applying for admission? Check out the Physician Assistant Education Association’s (PAEA) main site and Pre-PA Student page where you’ll find a wealth of information about applying to PA programs, paying for school, CASPA, and much more.
To be considered for the Physician Assistant program, applicants must:
Submit all application materials to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) at http://www.caspaonline.org, including official transcripts for all institutions of higher education attended and three recommendations. Applicants must read and adhere to the CASPA Professional Code of Conduct available on the CASPA website. Early application is strongly advised.
Preference will be given to candidates who can demonstrate an alignment with the mission and core values of the program via a required supplemental essay. Candidates will be asked to choose three of the Shenandoah University PA Program’s Core Values and, in a total of 500 words or less, explain how they have demonstrated those three core values in action.
As a part of the CASPA application, candidates will prepare an admissions narrative, which must be evaluated as of graduate quality by our admissions committee. Candidates are to explain why they are interested in becoming a PA and demonstrate that they have an in-depth understanding of the PA role in the health care system. In addition, candidates are encouraged to use this narrative to explain any aspects of their application that may require clarification (e.g., gaps in education or work).
International students must submit their transcripts for course-to-course equivalency evaluation through the World Education Service (WES). They are also required to demonstrate English language proficiency as outlined in SU’s Graduate Catalog. Read the Admission Guidelines and FAQs documents below for more information.
Although paid, voluntary, or observational health care experience with a PA is not required, it is highly recommended.
Applicants must have the following academic requirements to be admitted:
- A bachelor’s degree from an educational institute regionally-accredited by a U.S. Department of Education agency, or as determined by WES.
- A minimum 3.0 overall grade point average (GPA)
- A minimum 3.0 overall science GPA
- A minimum 3.0 SUPA Prerequisite GPA
- A candidate with less than a 3.0 but greater than 2.80 overall GPA may be considered if at least 15 semester hours of relevant graduate level coursework has been earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA. See FAQs for the definition of a relevant degree.
The following prerequisite coursework must be completed:
|Human Anatomy and Physiology with labs||2 semesters/8 credits|
|General or Introductory Chemistry with lab||1 semester/4 credits|
|Gen. or Intro. Biochemistry (or Organic Chemistry with lab)||
1 semester/3 (or 4) credits
|Gen. or Intro. Microbiology with lab||1 semester/4 credits|
|Abnormal Psychology||1 semester/3 credits|
|Developmental Psychology (Child/Adolescent/Life Span/Human Dev.)||1 semester/3 credits|
|Mathematics (preferably Statistics)||1 semester/3 credits|
|Medical Terminology||1 semester/1-3 credits|
- A minimum C grade must be earned in each course, however, grades of an A or B are considered competitive.
- Science courses must be completed within ten (10) years of application. In some cases, work experience specific to the science course older than 10 years may substitute for repeating the course. You may upload a formal request, resume, and supervisor letter to your CASPA application for this consideration.
- Distance/online education formats are strongly discouraged for prerequisite science courses requiring a lab, outside of spring 2020 thru spring 2021 Covid semesters.
- The Human Anatomy and Physiology (A & P) sequence should be taken through the same college or university series to ensure continuity and coverage of all body systems. Comparative, vertebrate, animal, functional, or specific discipline A & P courses do not qualify.
- Separate A & P courses containing labs, a comprehensive human focus, and a minimum of 4 semester credit hours are accepted. Completing these courses within the past 5 years is encouraged.
- If organic chemistry is taken instead of biochemistry, the course must include a lab.
- A medical terminology proficiency exam will be administered during summer orientation. Failure to meet the minimum benchmark will require a formal remediation plan to be completed during the first summer semester.
Characteristics of Students
Admitted in 2021 – Graduate Class of 2023
Number of Applications
Number or Seats
Overall Cumulative GPA
Overall Science GPA
SUPA Prerequisite GPA
Hours of Patient Care Experience
Hours of Shadowing Experience
If you have questions or need further information about financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office.
Through the generosity of alumni, community friends and foundations, the SUPA program is able to provide several scholarships each year. Additional information regarding SU, private, and professional association scholarships will be provided for matriculated students in their first fall semester. Candidates interested in exploring loan repayment opportunities through the National Health Service Corps scholarships should call NHSC at (800) 221-9393 or visit the NHSC Web site.
The admissions committee, thru collective agreement and a point scoring system, will grant one of the following admission decisions to those interviewed:
Is offered to admitted candidates with a conferred bachelor’s degree along with the completion of all program prerequisite courses.
Is offered to admitted candidates with outstanding requirements which may include:
* A bachelor’s degree in progress. An official transcript showing the degree conferral must be provided no later than by May 31.
* Incomplete prerequisites. Remaining courses are to be completed by May 15 with official transcript(s) received by May 31.
A limited number of candidates will be placed on a wait-list in which rank or position will not be disclosed due to its dynamic nature. Those not notified of an admission status by early-mid June must reapply to be considered in a future cycle.
Applicants denied admission will be notified in writing and must reapply to be considered in a subsequent admission cycle.
Technical standards establish the expectations and abilities considered essential to achieve the level of competency required for graduation and practice. All SUPA Program students are expected to be able to continually demonstrate the abilities specified below at matriculation and throughout the educational program.
Physician Assistant Program students:
- must have the mental capacity to assimilate and learn a large amount of complex, technical and detailed information; to solve clinical problems; and to synthesize and apply concepts and information from various disciplines in order to formulate diagnostic and therapeutic plans;
- must have the ability to maintain composure and emotional stability during periods of high stress;
- must have the ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients from different social and cultural backgrounds and develop effective professional rapport with patients and co-workers;
- must have the ability to record examination and diagnostic results clearly, accurately and efficiently, in verbal, written and electronic formats;
- must have adequate sensory function to fulfill minimum competency objectives for palpation, percussion and auscultation necessary to perform a physical examination;
- must possess sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control and eye-to-hand coordination to use standard medical/surgical instruments and possess sufficient control of the upper extremities to meet the physical requirements for training and for performing a safe physical examination and procedure;
- are expected to learn and perform common diagnostic and therapeutic procedures (e.g., blood drawing, suturing) and interpret the results;
- are expected to have the degree of coordination of motor skills necessary to respond to emergency situations quickly and appropriately;
- must be able to safely operate a motor vehicle in order to transport oneself to educational experiences off campus.
- are expected to participate in program scheduled learning and assessment activities that may occur between the hours of 6 am and 9 pm.
- are expected to participate in clinical rotations that operate during all times of the day/night.
- must have the mental capacity to assimilate and learn a large amount of complex, technical and detailed information; to solve clinical problems; and to synthesize and apply concepts and information from various disciplines in order to formulate diagnostic and therapeutic plans;
Prior to beginning coursework, students are required to authorize and submit to a criminal background check, including sex offenses and crimes against minors. A history of a conviction at the felony level may prevent the student from placement for clinical training and thereby ability to satisfy graduation requirements. Students must also submit to drug testing required by clinical practice sites or the program. Non-compliance with the criminal background checks and/or drug testing policies may be cause for dismissal from the program.
DOMAIN I: PATIENT CARE
Competency A: Gather a medical history
* Ensures patient comfort
* Establishes and maintains ethically sound and therapeutic rapport with patient (and/or family)
* Reviews medical record for relevant past data
* Recognizes and interprets verbal and non-verbal cues
* Gathers all relevant components
* Adjusts according to patient-specific factors
* Elicits psychosocial and socioeconomic factors which may impact upon patient’s health
Competency B: Perform a physical examination
* Explains examination procedures
* Ensures patient comfort and privacy
* Utilizes diagnostic tools appropriately
* Assesses general status of patient
* Utilizes the skills of inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation
* Obtains vital signs
* Examines/assesses appropriate systems
* Employs special procedures/techniques where appropriate
* Adjusts according to patient-specific factors
* Utilizes principles of economy of time and motion
Competency C: Perform a medical and surgical procedures
* Performs basic and advanced cardiac life support
* Provides wound care including wound closure and removal of foreign bodies
* Obtains specimens (blood, fluid or tissue)
* Administers medications by various routes
* Assists in surgery (first or second assist)
* Performs basic office-based procedures (See SUPA technical procedures list)
* Applies principles of aseptic technique and universal precautions
* Demonstrates knowledge about procedures performed by specialists
Competency D: Recognize a patient needing urgent or emergent care and initiates evaluation and management including referral
DOMAIN II: MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE
Competency A: Analyze data and develop a prioritized differential diagnosis
* Analyzes subjective and objective findings
* Recognizes diagnostic patterns
* Recognizes impact of social and behavioral issues on differential diagnosis
* Applies principles of epidemiology and principles of evidence-based medicine
Competency B: Recommend/order and interpret common diagnostic and screening tests
* Orders appropriate diagnostic tests based upon differential diagnoses and care setting
* Considers cost, sensitivity, specificity, invasiveness, appropriate sequencing
* Repeats or orders additional tests as indicated
* Orders/performs appropriate screening tests based upon evaluation of risk factors
* Makes informed decisions about diagnostic interventions based upon patient information and preferences, as well as up-to- date scientific evidence and clinical judgement
Competency C: Develop a therapeutic management plan (acute and/or chronic care)
* Applies principles of pharmacotherapeutics
* Considers patient’s overall condition including socioeconomic factors
* Develops plan in consultation and cooperation with patient (and/or family)
* Includes nonpharmacologic modalities as appropriate
* Considers options including referrals and consultations
* Implements a process for follow-up
* Monitors and adjusts plan for maximum effectiveness and avoidance of adverse outcomes
* Makes informed decisions about therapeutic interventions based upon patient information and up-to-date scientific
evidence and clinical judgement
DOMAIN III: COMMUNICATION
Competency A: Documents clinical encounters in the patient record
* Utilizes standard medical charting principles to accurately document and record information regarding findings and care processes
* Prepares summaries as needed (admission, discharge, and surgery)
* Uses written, oral, and electronic communication techniques
* Maintains confidentiality of medical record
Competency B: Provides oral presentation of a clinical encounter
* Synthesizes data, including pertinent positives and negatives
* Communicates clearly and succinctly
* Responds to questions and request for additional information
* Give or receive a patient handoff to transition responsibility of care
Competency C: Provides patient and family education
* Maximizes patient autonomy
* Employs variety of methods of patient education to ensure understanding and learning
* Instructs patients in health promotion and disease prevention principles
* Assists patient/family with utilization of community services
* Develops patient education materials
* Includes family members as appropriate
* Ensures patient understanding and avoids medical jargon
DOMAIN IV: PROFESSIONALISM
Competency A: Demonstrates professionalism, cultural sensitivity, and interpersonal skills with patients, families, community members, and members of the health care team
* Maintains patient confidentiality
* Maintains high moral and ethical standards
* Works effectively with physicians and other health care professionals as member or leader of a health care team or other professional group
* Demonstrates respect for individual and cultural diversity
* Recognizes limitations and seeks counsel
* Promotes and advocates for the physician assistant profession and ideals
* Applies humanistic approach to health care (includes respect, compassion, and integrity)
* Modifies approach to patient care based on environment and resources
* Demonstrates emotional resilience and stability, adaptability, flexibility, and tolerance of ambiguity)
* Collaborates as a member of an inter-professional team
* Recognizes and modifies non-effective verbal and non-verbal communication
DOMAIN V: PRACTICE-BASED LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
Competency A: Acknowledges the importance of lifelong learning professional education
* Prepares for obtaining and maintaining certification status and credentialing
* Keeps abreast of current medical/surgical trends and technology
* Provides education to community and/or profession
* Keeps abreast of technological advances
* Utilizes reflection to grow personally and professionally
* Formulates comprehensive research questions to improve health care
* Identifies systems-level failures and contributes to a culture of safety and improvement
* Demonstrates emotional, physical, and mental health; and pursues continual personal and professional growth
DOMAIN VI: PROFESSIONAL AND LEGAL ASPECTS OF HEALTH CARE
Competency A: Utilize administrative, management, and research skills
* Complies with local, state and federal laws and regulations
* Monitors health care for quality outcomes and cost effectiveness
* Follows guidelines for third-party reimbursement
* Critically appraises scientific literature
* Utilizes technology and information to enhance patient care and patient education
* Obtains informed consent
* Implements up-to-date and optimal reimbursement, billing and coding practices
DOMAIN VII: INTERPROFESSIONAL COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE AND LEADERSHIP
Competency A: Demonstrates leadership skills
* Advocates for self, patients, families, communities, and the profession
* Displays a service-oriented attitude
* Demonstrates servant-leadership for profession, community, and clinical practice
* Recognizes the value of participation in the education process (mentor, teacher, or preceptor)
* Advocates for and/or participates in care of medically underserved populations
* Demonstrates leadership initiative
* Maintains emotional, physical, and mental health; and pursues continual personal and professional growth
* Applies skills needed in organization management, personnel management, and mentorship
Covid-19 has made my experience with PA school very different from what I had imagined, but Shenandoah’s program has managed to continue building a close knit community for students and faculty through difficult times. The open-minded, approachable faculty has helped me feel more at ease with constantly changing circumstances, and the repeated focus on patient care through our Clinical Integration course, zoom calls with patients, and covid friendly volunteer events serve as constant reminders as to why I choose PA. While this experience is not what I thought it would be, I am so thankful I am here!
Tanha Patel ’22, PA-S
I had been working in ophthalmology for about 5 years as a retinal angiographer when I realized that my love of medicine was pulling me towards the PA profession. When I visited Shenandoah University, everything just felt right. The caring nature of the faculty and the camaraderie of the students really drew me in. Even now, my favorite part about being a SUPA student is that I feel I can count on any one of my peers to help me in any way I would need.”
David Blumberg ’22, PA-S
After the long journey of applying to several PA schools, home is the first word I think of when describing Shenandoah University’s PA program. I have built some strong friendships with classmates and the faculty are so open, warm, and encouraging that it puts my worries to ease. I never thought going through this process would be easy, but being a part of this program gives me the confidence that I will succeed as a great PA in the future.”
Anna Ernst, PA-S, Class of 2021
There is no PA program that compares to Shenandoah’s encouraging and caring atmosphere. After attending their open house I knew this program would mold me into the compassionate and hard-working PA that I have always envisioned myself to be. Their passion for helping the community and their critical thinking approach to learning medicine through modules and clinical integration is why I chose Shenandoah.”
Karen Lizarraga, PA-S, Class of 2021
When I decided to become a Physician Assistant, I knew from the start where I wanted to pursue my degree. As an undergrad student I studied biology at Shenandoah University which showed me just how much our school cares about the students and going the extra mile to ensure that students have the best chance at success. Once I was accepted to the PA program, here at Shenandoah, I knew I was in the best of hands. The program feels just like the same close-knit family environment that I had grown to expect based on my undergraduate experience. As a non-traditional student and a military veteran, I have always felt more comfortable in an environment of structure, camaraderie and unified goals. I feel a strong sense of community here and everyone from faculty to students desire the same outcome which is to ensure that we get the best education to become the best trained practitioners possible for the patients in our community. Go Hornets!”
Tedric Lolis, PA-S, Class of 2021
The admission information provides both the potential and matriculated student with details about the educational program leading to a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MS-PAS). It should be viewed as an adjunct to Shenandoah University’s Graduate Catalog and the Shenandoah University Physician Assistant (SUPA) Program Student Handbook, which contain specific information regarding the university and related policies. The information herein is subject to periodic revision and these changes will be relayed to candidates and students in a timely manner. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to be aware of all degree requirements and to work closely with an adviser to ensure that these requirements are fulfilled. Your success is very important to us, and we are committed to helping you achieve your goal of becoming a physician assistant. Please send any questions regarding the application and admissions process to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SUPA Program participates in the web-based Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) service through which, with a single application, one may apply to multiple PA programs nationwide.Documents to help you understand our program and the application process for the 2021-22 admissions cycle:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1) Why should I apply early?
The Shenandoah University PA (SUPA) Program uses a type of rolling admissions which encourages applicants to submit their applications early, allowing for a much greater opportunity to be selected for an interview.
2) Am I too old to apply?
The Shenandoah University PA (SUPA) Program’s admissions policies do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation. Candidates are urged to review the Technical Standards located on the SUPA program website and consult us to determine if the University can provide reasonable accommodations to meet the Standards for practice.
3) Will you evaluate transcripts or courses before I apply?
Due to the volume of applications received each year, we are unable to offer this service to candidates who are not current CASPA applicants. Please read the entire section on prerequisites in the admissions guide for further guidance. If you are unsure if a particular course will satisfy a prerequisite, you may email a course description and syllabus for review to email@example.com once you have applied to the SUPA Program through CASPA.
4) How do I apply?
The SUPA Program participates in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) the Customer Service Representatives of which are available M-F, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (ETS) by phone at (617) 612-2080, or you may email CASPA.
5) Does the program require a supplemental application?
We don’t require a supplemental application, instead we require a supplemental essay to be submitted with the CASPA application. Preference will be given to candidates who demonstrate an alignment with the mission and core values of the program. Students will choose three of the values and explain how they’ve been used in action by writing an essay of 500 words or less.
6) When should I send my materials into CASPA in order to meet Shenandoah deadlines?
We strongly recommend that you submit your completed application by September 1st in order to meet our application verification October 1st deadline. Otherwise, delays in CASPA processing could jeopardize consideration of your application.
7) What are the typical number of applications and number of seats available?
For the 2020-21 admissions cycle, we averaged over 10 applications per seat. In 2021 we admitted 60 students (42 for the Winchester campus and 18 for the Scholar Plaza, Loudoun site).
8) Is my application viewed more favorably if I am a Shenandoah University (SU) student/graduate or complete prerequisites at SU?
a) SU Student –an articulation agreement between SU’s undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and our graduate School of Health Professions (SHP) provides a pathway to the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies for any currently full-time enrolled SU student earning a baccalaureate degree from the university. Students will submit a CASPA application, and as long as admissions requirements are met an interview invitation will be granted. If criteria is not met, the student’s application will automatically be entered into the pool of regular applicants. The SUPA Program reserves a set number of seats for current SU students
b) SU Graduate – students who take a gap year, or are otherwise an SU alum are ineligible.
c) Visiting/Non-degree Student –ineligible
Students desiring to enter Shenandoah University as a freshman and who wish to be considered for the SUPA Program should review our Early Assurance program.
1) What are the prerequisite requirements for entrance?
The entrance requirements include a bachelor’s degree, a minimum 3.0 overall cumulative and science Grade Point Average (GPA), and at least a letter grade of C (A or B is competitive) obtained in each prerequisite course. GPAs are calculated by CASPA, and repeated courses are included in calculations.
The course requirements are detailed on our SUPA Program website and include:
- Human Anatomy and Physiology with labs
- Microbiology with lab
- General Chemistry with lab
- Biochemistry without a lab or Organic Chemistry with lab
- Abnormal Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- College Mathematics (statistics preferred)
- Medical Terminology
Science courses must be current within 10 years, and the program strongly encourages the Human Anatomy & Physiology prerequisites to be completed within the past 5 years. Candidates may meet the anatomy and physiology prerequisites by taking a semester course in each topic or by taking the entire sequence of combined anatomy & physiology courses at a single college. The combined courses must cover all of the body systems. Animal physiology, comparative anatomy, vertebrate anatomy, functional anatomy, anatomy and physiology designed for specific disciplines, or fundamentals of anatomy and physiology courses are not counted toward the two-semester requirement.
General Psychology cannot be substituted for Abnormal or Developmental Psychology requirements. A medical terminology proficiency exam will be administered during summer orientation. Failure to meet the minimum benchmark will require a formal remediation plan to be completed during the first summer semester.
2) Why must science prerequisites be current within ten years, and when does from what time does this ten year countdown begin?
The fields of science are rapidly changing on a regular basis as there are many new diseases that have emerged as little as two years ago. Thus, students should have a current science knowledge base providing a solid foundation for clinical science instruction while studying the PA curriculum.
The ten year timeframe begins from the term the science course in question is taken.
If a candidate demonstrates that he/she has worked in a science-related discipline allowing him/her to remain current, then the candidate may petition the program to substitute work experience instead of repeating the course(s). This requires documentation to include a formal request, resume and letter from a work supervisor. The petition must be uploaded to one’s CASPA application. The PA Program does not review petitions until the application is received.
3) Will online courses with labs fulfill science prerequisites?
Generally, online/distance education formats are strongly discouraged for the science prerequisites that require a lab component. Such courses that were transitioned to an online format during the Covid timeframe of spring 2020 through spring 2021 will be accepted.
4) Can I apply before my prerequisites are complete?
Yes. You may apply if you are confident that you will be able to complete all prerequisites, including a bachelor’s degree, no later than May 15 of the enrollment year with official transcripts documenting this completion received by May 31. It’s recommended that candidates have no more than two outstanding prerequisites left to complete at the beginning of spring term prior to enrolling in the SUPA Program.
5) Do you accept College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits for prerequisite courses?
Yes. Students must submit official copies of test results for review and approval. To review the minimum passing scores and credit eligibility for individual tests, refer to the SU Undergraduate Catalog. We do not accept Advanced Placement (AP) or CLEP exams for science prerequisite courses, however, we will accept passing CLEP exam scores for our math and Developmental Psychology (Human Growth and Development) requirements.
6) Do you accept prerequisite courses completed at community colleges?
Prerequisites may be taken at any college or university (regionally-accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education), which includes community colleges which are not evaluated differently than equivalent four-year institution courses.
1) Does the SUPA Program require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or other entrance exams?
No. We are not requiring the GRE, MCAT, PA-CAT, or any other entrance exam.
1) Where can I find out more information about the SUPA Program?
Candidates are encouraged to visit our SUPA Program website regarding admission details and curriculum. In addition, Information Sessions (Open Houses) are hosted. These sessions provide an opportunity to meet faculty and students, tour our facilities, and receive further information regarding the PA Profession in general and the SUPA Program in particular. The dates and registration form are posted on SUPA’s Information Session Registration Page.
2) Is the SUPA Program accredited?
Yes, the program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Committee on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA). The next review of the program will be in March 2025.
3) What is the length of the SUPA Program?
The curriculum is 30 months (eight terms) in duration beginning in early July each year. The program includes three summer sessions and graduation is in December. The first five terms are primarily didactic (classroom and laboratory) and the last three terms are the clinical phase. There are opportunities for clinical exposure (primarily observational) during the first year. Clinical rotations total 47 weeks. Additional information regarding the curriculum is found on our website.
4) Can I work while attending the PA Program?
The program is only offered on a full-time basis. Because of the rigor of the program, students are strongly discouraged from working either part-time or full-time while enrolled.
5) What is the pass rate on the national certification examination?
SUPA’s pass rate for first-time takers over the past five years (2016-20) is 95 percent. The national pass rate for the past five years is 96 percent. The SUPA Program overall pass rate is 100 percent. Additional information is available on the Web site.
6) Do you offer a dual enrollment program?
Yes. Shenandoah University also offers a Master degree in Public Health (MPH) program. Up to 15 credits of MPH coursework overlaps with graduation requirements for the PA/MPH Dual Degree option, thus, saving students both time and money. Additional information is available at PA/MPH Dual Degree. Students may elect to enroll in the Dual Degree option before, during, or after starting the PA program.
1) Where are SUPA Program’s clinical sites? May I complete clinical rotations in my hometown or home state?
Most clinical rotations are located within a ninety-mile radius of students’ home campus in Winchester or site in Loudoun County. However, students may be required to complete rotations that are beyond this radius. Students are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses during the clinical year. The program will work with the clinical site to help identify inexpensive local housing when the assignment is beyond commuting distance, but this cannot be guaranteed. Students in good academic standing may apply to complete faculty-approved clinical rotations at distant sites. Students are not expected to find their own clinical placements.
1) If I do not have minimum 3.0 overall cumulative and science GPAs, so is there any point in applying?
An applicant with an overall cumulative or science GPA less than 3.0 but greater than 2.80 and who has completed a minimum of 15 semester hours of relevant graduate work with a 3.0 or better GPA, may be considered. Average GPAs for students admitted to the SUPA Program have been over 3.5 for the past several years.
2) I have retaken a class; do Shenandoah and CASPA look at the new grade or the average of both?
CASPA does not recognize individual school’s forgiveness, academic renewal, or grade replacement policies in regards to repeated courses. All grades which you earned for repeated courses will factor into your CASPA GPA. (See the CASPA website for more details on GPA calculation.) Shenandoah does not recalculate GPA other than for a) additional coursework taken after application is submitted to CASPA, or b) independent evaluations of foreign transcripts.
1) Where should I obtain references?
It is recommended that candidates seek references from individuals who are well acquainted with them academically, personally and/or professionally. It is desirable that candidates seek a variety of sources for references. In other words, it is not a good idea to have all of your references come from college professors. The reference source should be acquainted with the candidate for a significant period of time (e.g. not just one course in the case of a college professor). Candidates should not obtain references from family members or others with whom they share a personal vs. professional relationship.
1) Do you require health care experience (HCE) and, if so, what type and how much?
Although we do not require HCE or PA shadowing as an entrance requirement, it is recommended.
2) May I add additional hours of health care experience to my application after it’s been submitted?
Once your application has been received by us, there is no guarantee that it will be considered in time for your application review. Candidates may update their application to submit official transcripts showing a conferred bachelor’s degree or additional completed prerequisite course grade(s).
1) What is the facility like at the Northern Virginia Campus location?
The Scholar Plaza Loudoun (SPL) site is located near the campus of Inova Loudoun Hospital in Leesburg, Virginia. SPL is a newly renovated facility with classroom space containing state of the art technology, along with a large and fully equipped physical exam lab, and a state-of-the-art cadaver lab. It also includes a cafeteria, student study lounge areas, and a small fitness gym.
Applicants note campus preference in their application and may confirm their selection post-interview. However, the SUPA program cannot guarantee that all students will be placed at their campus preference site.
2) If I attend the program at the Scholar Plaza, Loudoun (SPL) site, will I have access to the same faculty and other resources as the students at the Winchester campus?
While core faculty will be based at one of the two sites, they are accessible to all students at both locations. All students are assigned a faculty advisor from the core faculty at their assigned site. Faculty maintain an open-door policy for students when they are in their office, or students can make an appointment. Student-faculty meetings can also take place face-to-face or by utilizing video-teleconferencing applications on their computers.
Most resources required for academic work are available online for all students which includes access to the learning management system, texts, journals and library services. Wellness, learning, and writing services are also offered at both campuses.
3) May I take classes at both the Winchester and at Scholar Plaza or switch campuses during the program?
No. Courses must be attended at your assigned campus from the start and through the duration of the didactic program. Students are normally not permitted to switch campuses.
4) Is the curriculum the same at both sites?
Yes. SUPA’s curriculum includes independent study, lecture, discussions, small-group work, case-based exercises, and practical application at both sites. The curriculum is delivered synchronously between the two sites utilizing distance learning technology for lecture-based learning. The lecture can originate from either site. Practical application courses such as physical exam, anatomy lab, and clinical integration case exercises are held in an in-person format with a low student to faculty ratio comparable at both sites. On occasion, students may be required to travel to either one of the sites or to another location for special events or training.
If I am:
1) Admitted to the SUPA Program, may I defer my admission to the following year?
No. The PA Program is normally unable to defer admissions. Candidates who have not yet matriculated are not eligible for a leave of absence.
2) Wait-Listed and not admitted, do I need to reapply the following year?
Yes, candidates on the wait-list who are not offered a seat for the current admissions cycle must reapply through CASPA in order to be considered for subsequent admission decisions.
3) Denied, can I reapply and how can I improve my application?
The SUPA Program encourages reapplication as it is an indication of motivation and perseverance. The successful candidate typically exceeds minimal entrance requirements in multiple areas. In addition, his/her interview demonstrates a high level of professionalism, in-depth knowledge regarding the SUPA Program and the PA profession as well as excellent communication skills. Candidates may request a general review of their application by email thru the firstname.lastname@example.org email. The program publishes a “Characteristics of Admitted Students” profile on its recently admitted class on its web site to view as a benchmark for improving one’s application.
If I have a foreign medical degree; do I still need to complete the:
1) Prerequisites or an English proficiency exam?
Yes. Candidates with transcripts from another country must submit them to the World Education Services (WES) for course-to-course translation and evaluation. If the evaluation shows a prerequisite as completed, it will generally be accepted by the program if it meets the time, credit hour and grade requirements. Please contact Shenandoah University’s International Admissions Office if you have questions regarding English proficiency and visa requirements. The phone number is 540-665-4581.
2) Entire program?
Yes. There is no test which an international medical graduate (IMG) can take to obtain a PA license, or become nationally certified as a PA. All IMGs accepted into the program are not given priority consideration and must complete the entire program. Courses previously taken in medical school generally cannot be substituted for courses taken in the SUPA program.